Meeting of the Senate of the Faculty
February 10, 2000
Chair Laurenzo declared a quorum and called the meeting to order at 7:06 PM.
Present: J. Atkins, B. Barkdoll, T. Bates, J. Bradley, L. Bush, G. Buskes, J. Cassidy, W. Cleland, C. Eagles, R. Ethridge, D. Feller, V. Frierson-Adams, D. Graves, L. Harper, F. Laurenzo, J. Martin, T. McCarty, K. Mckee, P. Malone, C. Mullen, M. Overby, L. Pittman, K. Raber, T. Ray, J. Rimoldi, K. Sabol, R. Schroeder, C. Taylor, M. Tew, Jay Watson
Absent: *J. Aubrey, B. Avery, M. Baggett, B. Barrios, *A. Bomba, A. Canty, R. Dale, M. Deighton, P. Goggans, L. Hanshaw, S. Hargrove, W. Mayer, J. Murray, J. Parcher, E. Payne, J. F. Payne, J. S. Payne, W. Rayburn, *J. Reidy, M. Slattery, H. Sloan, L. Smith, C. Walker, John Watson, R. Westmoreland, *C. Williford
Guests: Jeff Alford (University Director of Public Relations and Marketing), Rachel Malone (Daily Mississippian), John Joseph and other students (ASB)
A. The Chair introduced Jeff Alford, who is the new Director of Public Relations and Marketing. In his comments he noted that he has only been on campus for two weeks and that he came at a lively time. He invited the faculty to contact him at any time about University public relations.
B. Given that the regular Senate meeting would occur during Spring Break, a special meeting will be held (probably) on March 16. A notice will be sent out one week prior to the meeting.
C. Fred Laurenzo and Marvin Overby met in Jackson with the state faculty senate association. Dr. Tom Layzell, Commissioner of Higher Education, met with the group. The primary topic of discussion was post-tenure review. Dr. Layzell said that a preliminary report might go to the IHL Board in March or perhaps in April. It was also announced that Price-Waterhouse-Cooper has been hired to look into cost saving steps for the health system. Dr. Layzell told the group that there is likely to be a budget shortfall for next year and that there might be a $13M reduction in IHL money.
D. Laurenzo announced that Jim Reidy and the Academic Support Committee is about to take up the issue of the management of the Faculty House, which will be turned over to the faculty early this summer.
2. Old Business
Marvin Overby moved and Ron Schroeder seconded the following resolution relating to a University Honor Code:
The Faculty Senate of the University of Mississippi urges Chancellor Robert Khayat to appoint a task force to begin multi-year deliberations regarding the establishment of an honor code for the University's Oxford, Southaven, and Tupelo campuses. The task force should be composed of representatives from the faculty, undergraduate and graduate student bodies, upper administration, and student life offices. The goal of the task force would be to facilitate the development and implementation of an honor code by the date of the University's next accreditation by the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools (SACS). To improve the community climate regarding an honor code, the task force would be empowered to consider and recommend a series of intermediate steps designed to be undertaken during the development stage. These could include:
-encouraging a voluntary pledge on the part of students and faculty;
-development and implementation of a formal Honor Code that stipulates values, procedures, and penalties;
-education of current students regarding the benefits of an honor code through the Student Life and Student Housing offices;
-development of admission recruitment materials that stress the development of the campus honor code;
-development of orientation programs for newly arriving students on the developing campus honor code;
-identification of the material resources needed to support an honor code and soruces for securing them;
-efforts to integrate existing college-specific honor codes into a University-wide one; and
-other relevant intermediate measures.
The task force shall produce annual reports that summarize its progress over the preceding 12 months and its goals for the coming year. Copies of these annual reports shall be presented in a timely fashion to the chancellor, the Senate of the Faculty, the Associated Student Body, and the Associated Graduate Student Body.
After some discussion, the question being called, the resolution was adopted without dissent.
3. New Business
A. The first new business was a discussion of a possible Fall Break. Laurenzo called on Gerard Buskes, who has chaired a group of students, faculty, and administrators in forumlating a plan for a break. Buskes gave a summary of the thinking of that group which has led to a recommendation that October 12-13 be set aside for a break. John Joseph, President of the ASB, then spoke of the students' desire for a break. Charles Eagles, who is on the University Calendar Committee, discussed starting and ending dates for the Fall semester. He reported that the committee had previously approved a starting date of August 21 for the next fall semester. He announced that the Calendar Committee along with
the Senate been asked to consider the proposal for a Fall Break and had
voted against its inclusion in next year's calendar had voted against its inclusion in next year's calendar.
A number of students and faculty asked questions and made comments. The chair then proposed a series of straw votes on the issue. On the question of whether to have a break or not, seventeen voted Yes and eight voted No. On the question of the Fall Break coming on October 12-13 as proposed but
with the explicit proviso that the semester begin on August 21, nineteen voted Yes and six voted No. On the question of having the Fall Break occur on the two days prior to Thanksgiving break, only a few faculty voted Yes.
B. The Chair reported that the Executive Committee had discussed the difficulty the student newspaper has had getting information concerning some recent events from the University Police Department. Marvin Overby had been asked to talk with appropriate officials about the problem. His report included an opinion from the Attorney General's office the University had received in January which upheld the authority of the University to withhold information in certain instances.
A heated discussion involved Mr. Alford and his perception of the way the administration was dealing with these issues.
Joe Atkins read the following statement that had been adopted on February 9 by the faculty of the Department of Journalism:
The faculty of The University of Mississippi Department of Journalism unanimously supports the efforts of The Daily Mississippian in pursuing public access to official university records relation to campus safety.
We encourage the university administration to follow the full spirit of the Mississippi Public Records Act.
The free flow of information is the cornerstone of democracy and the foundation of academic inquiry.
Marvin Overby reported, as was noted in the student newspaper, that someone in the Attorney General's Office had given the opinion that UPD records were exempt from disclosure. The University Attorney had provided Overby with a copy of the opinion and the request that elicited that opinion:
Dear Mr. Khayat:
Attorney General Mike Moore has received your request for an opinion and has assigned it to me for research and reply. Your request is as follows:
"The University of Mississippi has received a request fom The Daily Mississippian and The Clarion Ledger for access to and a copy of all campus police incident reports and campus police log information pertaining to a University investigation of an on-campus fraternity party. The records in question were compiled for the purpose of a criminal investigation and contain names of identifiable individuals. The records are housed only in the office of the University Police Department which has responsibility on this campus for the investigation of criminal activities.
I would appreciate your providing The University of Mississippi with an opinion as to whether its University Police Department Incident Reports and campus police logs are exempt from disclosure under Sections 45-29-1 and 45-29-3 of the Mississippi Code of 1972."
In response, section 45-29-3 of the Mississippi Code provides:
"The following records shall be exempt from the provisions of the Mississippi Public Records Law of 1983: records which are in the possession of a public body, as defined by paragraph (a) of Section 25-61-3, that performs as one of its principal functions activities pertaining to the enforcement of criminal laws, the apprehension of criminal offenders or the investigation of criminal offenders and/or criminal activities, and which records consist of information compiled for the purpose of a criminal investigation, including reports of informants and investigators, and associated with an identifiable individual."
Under the facts given in your letter, the records in question are exempt from disclosure under the Public Records Act.
Discussion continued about the right of the news media and the public to know what had taken place in several incidents. At nine o'clock the Chair noted that a motion to suspend the rules to allow further discussion to take place. Marvin Overby moved and Larry Bush seconded a move to suspend the rules, and the motion passed with three or four No votes.
After more discussion Larry Bush moved and Charles Eagles seconded a motion that the Senate of the Faculty endorse the resolution of the faculty of the Department of Journalism. The question being called, the motion passed without dissent.
The meeting adjourned at 9:08 PM.